‘Hand of God’ does it again as Arwind Santos stars in clutch anew
MANILA, Philippines—Arwind Santos has hit numerous late-game shots in his career that it became not only clutch but something nearly holy.
He added not just one but two crunch time field goals in San Miguel’s 90-88 do-or-die quarterfinals win against NorthPort in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup that Santos once again called out to God Himself.
“There are a lot of shots that I can ascertain was the work of the ‘Hand of God’ and it’s always at that same spot,” said Santos in Filipino Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“I wasn’t nervous. Why would I be nervous if I’m given this opportunity? These kinds of situations happen and no matter how many times I’m put in that scenario, I will shoot it for my team.”
The spot Santos referred to was the right-wing where he launched a crucial three-pointer with 1:42 left to cut San Miguel’s deficit to one, 86-85, and followed it up with a transition layup off of Chris Ross’ feed to give the Beermen the 87-86 lead with 1:23 remaining.
Santos’ late-game heroics gave them enough leverage to grind it out in the final minute where import Chris McCullough put on the finishing touches.
“I was open, and I always say that during those crucial moments in the game and you found yourself open don’t be afraid to shoot it,” said Santos who had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The most memorable shot where Santos channeled the “Hand of God” was in Game 5 of the 2018 Philippine Cup finals, where he drilled a booming three with 16.5 seconds left that tied the match at 86-all.
Although that triple didn’t seal the victory outright, it allowed the Beermen to stay alive and claim the championship after two overtimes in the fateful game where Santos first described his clutch as coming from the “Hand of God.”
The 2013 MVP said that he doesn’t feel the nerves any longer during the high-stakes moments since he’s lived a life full of pressure ever since he left Pampanga to pursue a sporting career in Manila.
Santos was typical rags-to-riches story and he wrote his first chapter at Far Eastern University where he won three UAAP titles and two UAAP MVPs.
“Ever since I played basketball, when I tried my luck here in Manila and since I came from Pampanga all I wanted to do was change my life,” said Santos, who’s also an eight-time PBA champion. “There was the struggle wherein you make ends meet just to eat three times a day.”
“I had a father figure in Gov. Delta Pineda who has always supported me so why would I be nervous during those late-game situations? I just have to give my best, play well, focus, especially that I play for San Miguel.”
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